This new Italian is something of a dark horse. Up on the 10th floor of a building that is known for two restaurants (Shore and Linguini Fini), L'Altro is this columnist’s discovery of 2012. The reasons: every dish sampled was an impressive talking point of taste and texture; wines tried were unctuous, and our server was knowledgeable, gracious and completely unfazed by a tricky request to modify a listed dish.
An amuse bouche of ‘scampi hamburger’ set the scene: our waitress described how the name played with the mincing and mixing of onion and seasoning, but the accompanying foam and tinge of lemongrass and spice took it elsewhere. It should be mentioned that chef Philippe Leveille is behind the food here; his Italian restaurant, Miramonti l’Altro, in Brescia, Italy, has retained its two Michelin stars since 2001. The restaurant name means ‘the other’ and refers to the French chef’s personal take on Italian fare.
A signature style of cooking here is ‘one-side roasting’, in which seafood or meat is deliberately cooked more intensely on one side, allowing the cut to be enjoyed from seared medium through to almost rare. Scallops (sweet plump Hokkaido ones) are a great example; topped with crispy brioche and served with marinated vegetables, tempura of asparagus and confit tomato it is an outstanding starter. Duck foie gras and wild duck terrine with caramelized onions is another signature.
Of the pasta dishes, homemade spaghetti atop Sicilian red prawn tartar with confit tomato, lime zest and bouillabaisse contrasts sweetness and robust seafood flavors. The same pasta packs a spicy Mediterranean flavor when served with tiny clams and capers. On to the mains, where monkfish ‘bomboniera’ – one of three fish dishes listed – sees chunks of the meaty fish served with buttered potato cream and sprinkled with black truffle shavings; even if unfamiliar it has a comfort food-feel. One-side grilled pigeon comes with squid, chorizo and a light sauce of foie gras and crustacean reduction. As there were a few components here that this writer preferred to avoid, the waitress and kitchen kindly presented the same poultry with onion marmalade and pigeon jus – a stunning, robust dish that showcased the range of succulent to well-done meat.
From the tempting dessert list, L’Altro’s gelato Miramonti – a secret recipe stretching back some 50 years (chocolate is involved) – and rum baba in the glass with syrup and Malaga ice cream are house favorites. For those who cannot manage such sweet stuff, a selection of six delicate, flavorful petit fours served with a hot drink more than suffices. Two tasting menus (HK$880 and HK$1,080) cover most of the signature dishes.
Unforgettable food, wine and service.
One-sided roast scallop, marinated vegetable, asparagus tempura and tomato confit (pictured top)
Wine with your Meal?
The 28-page list includes six each of white and red, four sparkling and three dessert wines by the glass. Ca’
10th Floor, The L. Place, 139 Queen’s Road, Central
Tel: +852 2555 9100